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Midwest Climate & Energy

Four times more efficient than gasoline-powered cars and generating a fraction of the greenhouse gas emissions, electric vehicles have always been an easy sell in terms of environmental benefits.

What would it take to electrify our entire transportation system?

As wind and solar are making Minnesota’s electricity cleaner, it’s increasingly sensible to power more of our economy with electricity — we can use less fossil fuel while growing the business of our local utilities. Moving away from gas powered cars in favor of electric vehicles is one key piece of that transition.

Four times more efficient than gasoline-powered cars and generating a fraction of the greenhouse gas emissions, electric vehicles have always been an easy sell in terms of environmental benefits. And with zero tailpipe emissions, electric vehicles reduce ozone and particulate matter pollution, which can lead to childhood asthma, impaired lung function, cardiovascular disease, and even premature death. Recent market changes have also made electric cars a no brainer in terms of cost.

New electric cars like the Chevy Bolt, coming out this year, present particularly appealing options for fleet managers who purchase lots of cars that need to drive lots of miles. Government units have already been able to purchase Bolts, for instance, for around $25,000. For an all-electric car with a range of 240 miles between charges, that price point is simply unheard of. Over the past several months, Fresh Energy has built a model for fleet managers that allows them to compare the cost of electric vehicles with gas powered cars they’re currently procuring. In nearly every instance so far, lower maintenance and fuels costs make electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt and Bolt models the most cost effective option on the table.

By partnering with the state fleet services team and collaborating with local communities, Fresh Energy has helped connect the dots to date on the most recent energy opportunities. In the end, this project will ensure that money spent on transportation goes to local Minnesota utilities while reducing the emissions caused by importing and burning fossil fuels.

Fresh Energy is an independent non-profit organization working speed the transition to a clean energy economy. Working purely in the public interest, Fresh Energy’s team of scientists, attorneys, analysts, and economists advances innovative solutions. Making electric cars work for Minnesota is one particularly exciting opportunity. 


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